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Photography in NUI Galway: NUI Galway Through a Different Lens


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College websites, in particular, often feature stale stock photography, which is a pity in such a photogenic campus. A series of training workshops were run in early 2016 to give amateur staff photographers a grounding in both technical skills and creative composition. The project team worked with the Marketing Office to produce a short pack that covers the basics of photography and also tips on how to showcase NUI Galway events creatively. This also includes guidelines (correct dimensions for College webpage banners, for example) on how to process imagery for use on the web and for print.

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Photography in NUI Galway: NUI Galway Through a Different Lens

  1. 1. + Photography in NUI Galway: NUI Galway Through a Different Lens
  2. 2. + Mastering the Terminology Aperture, Depth of Field, Shutter Speed & ISO
  3. 3. + Aperture  Aperture affects the brightness of a photograph as well as the depth of field (what areas of the photograph are in focus).  The image to the right shows increasing f numbers but decreasing apertures.  The lower f numbers decrease the depth the field (making less things in focus) but allows more light in.
  4. 4. + Depth of Field  The larger the aperture the less that will be in focus in the image.  As you go down in aperture this gives less light so you must also go down in shutter speed to give more light.
  5. 5. + ISO  ISO is the sensitivity of the sensor to light.  Higher ISO is used in low lighting photography but it causes a grainy or noisy texture.  In sports photography higher ISO is often used to allow for a higher shutter speed.
  6. 6. + Shutter Speed  Shutter speed is how long the sensor in your camera is exposed to light as shutter remains open.  Controlled in f-stops where 1/2 second exposure is one stop darker (halves amount of light entering the camera) than 1 second exposure etc.  Your DSLR has a whole range of shutter speeds but in photographic terms the important ones are:1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500  Longer shutter speeds = more light; Shorter shutter speeds = less light.  As a general rule, shoot on 1/60 or faster.
  7. 7. + There’s more to Photography than Automatic Settings!
  8. 8. + Program (P) Mode  This would be the first step up from the automatic setting.  On this setting:  Shutter speed is automatic  Aperture is automatic  You can control ISO  The value of this programmed auto setting is that you can choose from different combinations of aperture and shutter speed that will produce the same exposure.  You can also control the exposure compensation (the dial that goes from -2 to 2).
  9. 9. + Shutter Priority (S or TV) Mode  On this setting:  Aperture is automatic  ISO is automatic  You can control shutter speed  The value of this setting is that you can choose choose just the shutter speed you want and the camera will automatically adjust the aperture for optimal exposure.  However, since the range of shutter speeds available is extremely large – e.g. from 30 s to 1/4,000 s - under certain conditions there may be shutter speeds at which no possible aperture setting could produce optimal exposure (a very fast shutter speed in a dark room, for instance).
  10. 10. + Aperture Priority (Av or A) Mode  On this setting:  Shutter speed is automatic  ISO is automatic  You can control ISO  The value of this setting is that you can choose just the aperture you want and the camera automatically adjusts shutter speed for optimal exposure.
  11. 11. + Manual (M) Mode  You can change everything!  This gives more control to the outcome of your photograph.  This is invaluable as the automatic setting on your camera is not always right.  You can choose both aperture and shutter speed, providing the greatest latitude for creative expression.  Bear in mind however that choosing the wrong combination could result in photographs that are too bright (overexposed) or too dark (underexposed).  Use the camera exposure indicator (see below) therefore as a guide when choosing aperture and shutter speed
  12. 12. + Taking Better Photos: Composition Tips Some simple rules to guide you
  13. 13. + Rule of Thirds  Rule of thirds is an essential photography technique and a pretty simple idea.  You basically split up your frame into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. These lines will create nine boxes and intersect in four places, as you can see from the example on the right.  Our eye is generally drawn to the points where these lines intersect so you can focus the viewer's attention on the parts of your portrait that you want them to see.
  14. 14. + Leading Lines  Leading lines pull the viewer’s eye into the photograph.  It gives a focus to the photograph.  Generally, this works best if the ‘line’ starts in the foreground or one of the four corners and leads somewhere in the photograph.
  15. 15. + Filling the Frame  If you get in close to the subject you can prevent having too much information in the frame.  Too much information causes the viewer to be confused as to what part is meant to be the main part.  One way of filling the frame is to remove any background and only have your subject in the frame.  Other times, you can have a bit of background in the photograph and it still works.
  16. 16. + Frame the Photograph  Use things that are already there to frame your subject.  Diagonal or curved lines can often be more interesting than straight lines.
  17. 17. + Perspective  You don’t always have to take images straight on.  Get down lower or stand on a chair to get a different point of view.  It can create funny images or give a really cool effect to an image.
  18. 18. + Rules can be broken!  Once you understand the rules of composition the rules can be broken.  It is best to not break too many in one photograph. The rules often work but do not always work.  Sometimes, breaking them can look creative and show a different point of view.
  19. 19. + Panning  Panning is used to create effects of moving objects.  Sometimes, a fast shutter speed that freezes a motion does not always give the best results.  A slow shutter speed is used (if it is very slow you will need to use a tripod for this) and as a moving object approaches you press the shutter and follow the moving object with your lens.
  20. 20. + After Taking Your Photo What next?
  21. 21. + Editing and Organizing Your Photos  Google Photos has useful, though a bit basic editing tools at It also offers a free, unlimited online backup of your photo library.  Windows and Apple Macs have built-in image editors. Apple’s updated Photos application offers a sortable library as well as a variety of editing tools.  GIMP ( is a powerful but easy-to-use alternative for all platforms.  Some of the University computer suites offer Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
  22. 22. + Using Images on the Web  Photos do not need to be in full resolution for use online. In fact, excessively large photos can add to loading times for your webpage.  Bear in mind that some content management systems such as T4, used in NUIG, requires images to use specific dimensions or proportions for different content types.  E.g. staff photos should be 160x160 pixels (320x320 is acceptable for higher-resolution screens).  Failure to follow these guidelines could lead to a staff member’s portrait photo being distorted out of shape.
  23. 23. + For example  Even the best photo, if not cropped and resized…  …becomes squashed into a square. Original Portrait Photo T4 Square Staff Image Format
  24. 24. + From Web Style Guide & Component Manual v 5.2 (March 2016)  College homepage ‘hero’ images - 1600x550px  College News thumbnail image: 112x112px,  College homepage expanding image panels: 1600x900px  Interactive video gallery: ratio 3:2, recommended dimension 1200x800px  College page discipline menu: 460x305px  Widescreen Landing Page Hero Carousel (School / top level landing pages): 1600x500px  Widescreen Landing Page Stacked Features: 780x500px  Additional Features : 650x367px All JPG files unless specified
  25. 25. + From Web Style Guide & Component Manual Continued (2/3)  Three Roundel Promos / Image Roundel with Description: 200x200px minimum, 400x400px preferred (for retina displays)  Past Student Testimonials: 130x130px  Gateway Lead Promo: 1020x760px  Standard Media Gallery: Video thumbnail - 584x584px, 6 image thumbnails - 288x288px, 6 full-size images - 800x600 min  Downloads carousel: 310x175px  Large News hero item / 3 Small Hero News Items / News Article Template: 735x415px  News Archive Summary: 735x415px (will be resized to 140x140px) All JPG files unless specified
  26. 26. + From Web Style Guide & Component Manual Continued (3/3)  In the media feature: 110x120px  Standard Video Gallery: Video thumbnail - 72x50px min, 144x100px preferred (for retina display), Image Preview: 510x380px (automatically generated by video)  Promo box large: 310x220px  Two/three image promo boxes: 704x520px  Content boxes with images: 300x165px min, recommended 600x330px (for retina displays)  Widescreen Promo Images 2 Columns: 960x532px  Widescreen Promo Images 3 Columns: 620x340px  Courses page features: 2 Column - 960x260px, 3 Column - 620x260px All JPG files unless specified
  27. 27. + Photos for Ollscéala What the Marketing Office are looking for
  28. 28. + Photos for Ollscéala  Photos must be at least 1MB in size to be suitable for print. Use original photos rather than thumbnails or copies off the web.  They should ideally involve staff members as it is a staff magazine.  Some examples of good practice follow.
  29. 29. + 1. Every photo must tell a story 2. Get as close as you can 3. Be different 4. People love kids and animals 5. Have a prop 6. Take plenty of shots What makes a good publicity photo? – not just show everyone involved – it will be more engaging – an unusual angle will make it more compelling – ...and celebrities – avoid the obvious ones – you’ll only notice the blinker back at your desk
  30. 30. +Good examples
  31. 31. + Galway sees 700 portions of free food served at Ireland’s first Disco Soup ...hundreds of people helped to wash, peel, chop and serve delicious, free vegetarian food cooked nearby... “yes to gleaming vegetables deemed too old, too big, too small, too wonky, but still delicious and perfectly edible” Case Study: Disco Soup Press Release, July 2013
  32. 32. + NUI Galway Hosts Ireland’s Only Harry Potter Convention The event will offer a taste of Hogwarts in potions, astrology or defence against the dark arts classes. In the opening ceremony on Friday fans will be sorted into their houses and compete in games for the auror or deatheater teams. On Sunday there will be a chance to try out muggle quidditch and to watch a couple of matches. Case Study: PotterFest Press Call, January 2014
  33. 33. + Clear skies in Galway gave astronomy enthusiasts wonderful views of the solar eclipse. Pictured viewing today’s solar eclipse at NUI Galway, where up to 500 people gathered in front of the Quadrangle, were members of the student society ‘Astrosoc’ John Rogers, Laura Boyle, James Barrett and Deirdre Ní Chonchubhair. Case Study: AstroSoc Solar Eclipse Captioned Photos, March 2015
  34. 34. +Case Study: Sea Saltiness Study The torpedo-shaped device, which is deployed into the water to gather data autonomously, is unique and the only one of its kind. “What is surprising is that these small-scale processes can affect large-scale patterns over the North Atlantic, and we are trying to connect the dots.” Exploring the Saltiness of the Ocean to Study Climate Change
  35. 35. + Copyright Notes  These slides were assembled from a combination of sources. Firstly, an SU EXPLORE project 2015/16 ‘NUI Galway Through a Different Lens’, lead staff partner Michael Coyne, with student partners from PhotoSoc.  Additional guidelines were compiled by John Caulfield, Marketing Office, NUI Galway.  Images in this presentation are used under Creative Commons licenses for non- commercial use. Please contact us if any images are used erroneously without attribution.